Most politically inclined individuals know what the word filibuster means: it's a delaying tactic employed in the Senate to try and put off important votes or decisions. But almost no one is aware that this annoying procedure comes from a word for pirate. This word descended from the Danish word vrijbuiter, literally translated as "West Indian buccaneer." Later, however, in the 1800s, filibuster referred to carpetbaggers of the farther South- US citizens who attempted to gain possession of Latin American nations through sketchy political means. It's easy to make the connection between a pirate and someone who hijacks a country, and equally easy to make a connection between a cantankerous political method to make things happen your way and the modern-day definition of filibuster. Another fun little tidbit about filibuster is its connection to the word freebooter (meaning "pirate"); they both descended from vrijbuiter, though only one kept its definition.
Adam Aleksic is a 217-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, and law. Adam is anxiously awaiting his college rejections and loves writing about himself in the third person.
The Etymology Nerd